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Local school children share their thoughts on Birmingham City Council’s draft Transport Plan

School Transport Summit
Published: Friday, 13th March 2020

Birmingham City Council hosted its School Transport Summit on Wednesday 11 March.

The event provided an opportunity for pupils and staff, from 20 schools across the city, to ask questions and give their views on the draft Birmingham Transport Plan.

The children were able to put their questions to an expert panel including Cllr Waseem Zaffar MBE, Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment; Ali Bell, Head of External Communications for National Express West Midlands; and Raji Takhar, Walk to School Project Coordinator for the national walking charity Living Streets.

Some of the pupils in attendance raised concerns about dangerous driving and congested parking outside their school. Others asked what was being done to improve public transport for schools and encourage more walking and cycling in residential neighbourhoods.

The Car Free School Streets initiative started in September 2019 and has been piloted with 6 Birmingham schools. The pioneering approach closes the area outside schools to motor traffic at the beginning and end of the school day; transforming road safety and improving air quality at times when children would usually be breathing in polluted air.

The council is currently evaluating this pilot project, with a view to rolling it out to more schools from September 2020. Any school that would like to be considered for the next phase of Car Free School Streets has until Friday 3 April to put forward an expression of interest. Schools are able to apply via an online form available at: www.birmingham.gov.uk/carfreeschoolstreets.

The School Transport Summit also saw the launch of a new Switch Off School Streets toolkit along with resources to help schools to run an ‘anti-idling’ campaign. The initiative aims to encourage drivers to turn off their engine when they are stationary around schools and will highlight how making one small, everyday change can make a big difference to air pollution.

To launch the new Switch Off toolkit, and tie in with World Poetry Day on 21 March, the city council is inviting schools to get creative and come up with their own ‘Switch Off’ themed poem.

Commenting on the summit, Cllr Waseem Zaffar MBE said: “The future vision for Birmingham’s transport is for a sustainable, green, inclusive, go-anywhere network. Cars will no longer dominate street life around homes and schools, and active travel - walking and cycling - will become the first choice for people making short journeys such as the school run. The creation of safe and healthy streets is particularly important to children and young people as these are places where they live, study, exercise and play.”

“It was a real privilege to receive feedback and ideas for the Birmingham Transport Plan from local school children. They are the future of Birmingham and they deserve to grow up in a safe environment where they can breathe clean air.”

Notes to Editors

Consultation on the draft Birmingham Transport Plan opened on 28 January 2020 and closes on Friday 27 March:

https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/economy/transportplan/

Pupils and staff from the following schools attended the School Transport Summit, held Wednesday 11 March at the Council Chamber, Birmingham City Council House, Victoria Square:

  • Alston Primary School
  • Bishop Vesey's Grammar School
  • Bordesley Green Primary School
  • Chivenor Primary School
  • Hill West Primary 
  • Hodge Hill College
  • Holte School
  • Holy Cross Catholic Primary school
  • Moor Green Primary academy
  • Moor Hall School
  • Moseley School and Sixth Form
  • Parkfield Community School
  • Queensbury School
  • Shirestone
  • St Brigids Catholic Primary School
  • St Francis CE Primary School and Nursery
  • St Vincent's RC Primary School
  • The Olive School, Birmingham
  • Thornton Primary School
  • Ward End Primary School